Archive for the ‘work’ Category

Unemployed before, now Unemployable

August 23, 2010

These two were in the news a couple of years ago.  According to the story, a village chief (kepala desa) received an sms from someone claiming to be a government officer and promising jobs for the two if they tattooed their faces with a ‘dragon’ pattern. 

All three of them claim to have been hypnotised by the sender of the sms and went along with the idea.  You can see the results above.  It must be pretty strong magic to convince two people to do such a mad thing.  Or it shows what lengths people will go to for the promise of an exciting job.  I could have told them from personal experience, government jobs aren’t worth it!

Anyhow, I suspect there are other possible explainations.  The one they gave might not be the full story.  Maybe it was punishment for unpaid gambling debts?  Gambling debts usually end in broken bones or death, though.  Perhaps they did it as part of a magic ritual to try to gain special powers.  What do you think?

Here’s the article where I first read about them:


Drive Safe

July 8, 2010

Happy travels!

On a rainy day, helping to cart rice husks and there’s no room in the cabin.  These labourers have come up with a solution so they can ride along and not get wet by making a kind of hammock under the overhang at the back of the truck.  What can go wrong?

Gayus Arrested in Singapore

June 17, 2010

Fugitive tax collector Gayus Tambunan was caught in a food court in Orchard Road by two Indonesian policemen who happened to be eating at the same place.  What a come down for someone who had become used to the best money could buy!   The policemen were able to convince him (and his family) to return to Jakarta with them in exchange for their protection and a chicken rice.

A few days ago, investigators seized $US6.5 million in foreign currency and jewellery from safety deposit boxes held in a Jakarta branch of PT Bank Mandiri.  The boxes were kept by Gayus, a former tax investigator.  Not bad going for a public servant, still a young guy, to judge from his pictures.  Gayus wasn’t born into money, here’s a pic showing his parent’s house compared with the one he was living in when things started to unravel:

Imagine letting your parents stay in that house while you’re living in a palace.  Here’s a better shot of the mansion:

Gayus was actually charged last year, when police found Rp 28 billion ($US3 million) in his bank accounts, probably payoffs from companies he had been assigned to audit.  Amazingly, he was acquitted.  But now all this cash has turned up, he’s back under arrest.  Of course, the scandal doesn’t stop there.  He has been linked to 149 companies (presumably those he audited in the past) including PT Dowell Anadrill Schlumberger and another bearing the name ‘Sidoarjo’ (possibly related to Bakrie’s mud volcano?).

In addition, those involved in his previous acquittal: his two lawyers, two police officers, two prosecutors, the judge, two suspected case brokers and a businessman are under suspicion. I wonder how many people’s careers will be in tatters by the end of all this?

In the old days, in the Suharto era, it’s unlikely that a case like this would see the light of day.  People were fearful of making waves in case it disturbed the wrong ones, that can be fatal.  But now, in many ways, it seems the press have more freedom to keep these cases in the public eye and people are more willing to speak up. 

It’s not so easy to hide illegal money.  It’s been the undoing of many criminals.  Did Gayus really think nobody would notice him bringing boxes of cash into the bank?  It didn’t even need a bank clerk to tip off the police, I’m sure the cash box records are regularly checked by the authorities.  The only way to enjoy ill gotten gains is to spend them, but that goes against the grain for someone like Gayus, a family man who might have had the peasant instinct not to waste what he had.  In trying not to waste it, the money was lost anyway.  Well, perhaps not all, I’m sure the loot that’s been found so far is just the tip of the iceburg.

Ultimate Fishing – Man Style

May 28, 2010

Most weekend fishermen are happy to bring home a couple of herring.  They might dream of snagging a whale.  For the people of Lembala Island, it’s a matter of survival.

They hunt in the traditional way, with techniques and customs passed down through generations.  Their tools are also hand made, more from financial necessity than anything else.  So they don’t use much metal or plastic, no nails are used to build their boats.  Everything comes from the island, so all the materials are wood or fibre, although nylon is starting to replace their hand made palm fibre rope.

Fishing this way doesn’t kill enough whales to threaten their survival.  These people are also victims of modern industrial fishing methods used by other countries.

There are obvious dangers, but the reward is their village can survive another season.

For the complete article:

Get there Quick by Motorcycle Taxi

May 9, 2010

First time visitors to Jakarta should generally restrict themselves to travelling by taxi if they don’t have a friend to help them get around.  I’ve written about taxis before on this blog.  As an all purpose mode of transport, the taxi is the best, but there are situations which call for alternative means, one of these is the motorcycle taxi, or ‘ojek’.

I usually take an ojek if I need to travel a short distance.  Walking during the daytime causes excessive sweating.  Taxis usually resent giving customers short rides.  I would understand that if I was calling one off a rank, but even the ones you hail from the street don’t like taking short distance fares.  The ojek is ideal for residential back streets.  I try to avoid taking one on the main roads as it can be quite hair-raising and dangerous in heavy traffic, you will also get coated by diesel fumes.  The ojek can also squeeze through traffic jams – while cars are gridlocked, the motorbike can still get through.

The other reason for using ojek is when you’re in a real hurry.  If you really have to get somewhere fast, a taxi isn’t going to do it, especially during rush hour or when it rains.  You will have to accept the additional danger, dirt and discomfort, but if you survive you will have turned a 2 hour trip into 20 minutes.

Finding an ojek is quite easy.  There is generally a designated area at the back exits of major buildings, near pedestrian bridges, neighourhood watch posts and the places where buses tend to stop (notice I didn’t say ‘bus stops’ – buses stop where they feel like stopping).  Just look for a cluster of parked motorbikes.  Sometimes the ojek will find you.  A guy will stand up and raise his finger and you confirm by saying ‘ojek’.  It also works if you can’t spot the ojek rank – just call out ‘ojek!’ and chances are one will come.

One thing to do before you call an ojek is to have an idea of how much it will cost.  It’s best to ask a local person to estimate the likely fare for you.  You will need to do this so you know how much to offer the ojek at the end of the ride.  I’ve found the ojek drivers to be surprisingly honest, so somehow it doesn’t feel right to negotiate the price before the trip.  When I arrive at my destination, I tender the amount I think is right for that distance.  If the ojek looks disappointed then I offer a few thousand rupiah more until we settle on a fair amount.  You will, of course, want to negotiate the price beforehand if you are taking a long distance ride.

Jakarta is the only urban centre in Indonesia where I know they have ojeks.  Places like Yogya and Surabaya still have becaks (pedicabs).  The other place to find ojeks is in the villages.

Smoking clown – Badut

March 25, 2010

When I think of clowns, I think of the acrobatic ones from the Russian circus with their prat falls, tumbling and slapstick.  I thought that you would at least have to put a bit of effort into it.  Not in Indonesia.  These two slackers get away with a little prancy dance, shake a few kids’ hands and give out baloons that they didn’t even make themselves!

Driving along the street there are signs everywhere saying ‘badut’ and a telephone number.  Sometimes I wondered what it would be like, I’d even considered hiring one for my own personal entertainment.  But now I know that this is all I’d get, I won’t bother.  At 6 minutes, even Mum gets bored and turns the camera on herself. 

I guess the scenario here is these two clowns have been hired by whoever is trying to get all those kids into the building, the advertising would have included clowns as part of the free entertainment.

I love to watch people at work, even when they’re not working very hard.  So here is a slice of life.  The thing I liked the most of this clip is the first few seconds where the sad clown is having a  sit down and a smoke.  Sitting down and smoking is just sooo unclownlike.